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Re: [GZG] FT:XD changes, part 1

From: Eric Foley <stiltman@t...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 16:28:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: [GZG] FT:XD changes, part 1

-----Original Message-----
>From: Robert Mayberry <>
>I think all the "naval gazing" that's going into this is confounding
>the key problem. As Chris points out, each fighter grows in its
>in-game effectiveness the more of them you have. So a single flat
>point cost will over-charge at one point and undercharge at another.
>All this other talk about campaign rules, industrial capabilities and
>PSB ignores the fact that:
>a) they're situational and setting-dependent
>b) not used at all in one-off games, and
>c) defeat the point of FT being adaptable for many settings
>A point cost formula evaluates the relative likelihood of fleet A
>beating fleet B, not counting the cleverness of the player. That's all
>that's important, really. If at the end of the day we can adapt the
>points system to also work as an economics system or justify it using
>PSB, then great. Wonderful. But not actually necessary. And, hell,
>we're smart people. We can figure out a PSB explanation for any points
>system we invent.

To a large degree, I agree with all of this.  At some point, though, I
honestly don't think it's _possible_ to create a points system, in and
of itself, where you have a fixed cost for every system in the game and
which still can accurately model a ship using that system's chance of
success against every possible other system in the game unless you
simply have a very, very limited set of systems and/or you limit the
number of settings possible to model with it.

The only way you could even _approximate_ the real curve on fighter
value would be to have both players report their number of fighters
against the amount of point defense and calculate the value of each
accordingly by some TBD equation.  Let's say you could do that, and
let's smoke enough crack to think you could actually make that equation
_right_.  Can you even visualize the conversation that happens before a
one-off game where people are putting fleet budgets together?

Player A:  I want to bring X number of fighters.
Player B:  I've got Y number of PDS, so your fighters will cost X^Z.
Player A:  Darn, I expected you to have more, that goes over my budget
now, I'm going to reduce the number of fighters so my Z goes down and
yours goes up.
Player B:  Wait, I don't want that much PDS any more now.
Player A:  Drat, now my fighter still cost too much because you reduced
the PDS, so I'm getting rid of all of them.
Player B:  Oh, now my PDS is worthless, I'm taking it all away.
Player A:  Oh, well now I definitely want more fighters.
Player B (doing his best Mutant Enemy mascot imitation):  Grrr...

Seriously... how much of an exaggeration is this?  Yet a similar
conversation on different subjects happens on most one-off pre-games
between strangers that meet at conventions.  People used to custom games
like playing the game one way, people who like to just drop in FB1 ships
like it another, if one of them isn't willing to just give up and play
the other way they'll have to handshake in the middle somewhere, and so
on.  As it is, we're playing this out here on this mailing list.

It's one of many reasons why I think just leaving it at a simple
"campaign simulating" logistics limit is the best way to go.  Put it in
as an optional rule explaining why the GZGverse has such seemingly weak
point defense and hasn't evolved away from it -- it's already an
_implied_ element of the setting, so if people want a quantifiable
reason why it's that way, put it in.

Where's the limit?  It depends on your setting.  GZGverse's limit, as I
said, would be between 1 and 3 fighters per 1000 NPV.  The limit will be
much higher or non-existent if you're playing in Battlestar -- the
Colonials are basically battlecarrier based while the Cylons are about
as close to soapies as you'll ever see in science fiction.  In Star
Wars, you'll have a higher limit than the GZGverse but the fighters will
all be standard or attack fighters (nothing nearly as powerful against
ships as torpedo bombers exists there), with a special rule where
fighters are allowed to fire their weapons like a single needle beam per
fighter group at the power core of the Death Star due to its egregious
design flaws.  In Star Trek, the limit is effectively zero, they have no
viable fighter technology at all, and if Star Trek ships were to fight
against other settings I'd suggest going with lightly hulled ships with
advanced drives, pulse torpedoes, pulsers (for both beams and point d
 efense, since Star Trek ships would use the same beams for both) and
some version of XD's advanced screens.

Is it perfect?	Maybe not.  But seriously... if you want to fight with
GZGverse human ships against a Cylon/soapie basestar, it's just not
going to work very well, even with rules for allowing them to shoot at
fighters with their main weapons.  It would be _nice_ if you could do it
without making fighters worthless altogether, but I honestly think
there's a pretty limited amount of good you can do to satisfy both goals
beyond simply rolling with careful scenario design (or redoing the ship
construction rules so that ships with freighter hulls aren't able to
bear supercarrier payloads).

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